Our vision for our businesses and employees is to have a culture of customer-focused continuous improvement, driven by teamwork, effective communication and personal development. Our core values are hard work, honesty, trust and integrity, and maintaining a working environment based on mutual respect.
Polypipe is committed to providing the appropriate skills and technical training that allow employees to operate effectively and safely in their roles and deliver excellent customer service. As part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, we continue to offer all front-line service personnel accredited training provided through The Institute of Customer Service. With the assistance of Mary Gober’s MGI Learning, an expert in employee engagement, business relations and customer satisfaction, we developed and rolled out in 2018 an additional training programme as part of our long-term development cycle to continually enhance our employees’ customer service capabilities.
Polypipe has consistently provided apprenticeships to the communities around our businesses by supporting enthusiastic, highly-motivated people who are keen to learn a trade. We have an outstanding record of retaining apprentices in ongoing, long-term, full-time employment. More recently, we are pleased to acknowledge that following our additional efforts working more closely with educational establishments and supporting careers advisory fairs, our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based roles are being filled by both sexes with female applications on the increase. We consider this approach an essential element of finding and retaining diverse employees with the sector-specific skills that we need.
During 2018 we had 39 apprentices employed in our businesses in the UK, a 22% increase on 2017, and we intend to increase this number further as we widen our apprenticeships across other disciplines in our business. The majority of our apprenticeships are in electrical, mechanical and toolmaking trades up to higher degree level, as we continue to focus our programmes predominantly on trades where future skills gaps are more evident within our industry, but that said, we continue to support a number of apprenticeships in other disciplines and work closely with both the British Plastics Federation and Institute For Apprenticeships to develop new Apprenticeship Standards for other STEM and polymer/chemical-based disciplines.
Underlining our commitment to advanced manufacturing engineering, we continue to place many of our apprentices at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, a state-of-the-art centre that offers the very best in practical and academic training, alongside creating Knowledge Transfer.
Programmes with the Research Centre and their exemplary group of students and professionals. To further our commitment to developing young and enthusiastic individuals for the long-term succession plans of our businesses, 2018 saw the launch of our Polypipe Plus Graduate Scheme, which achieved an immediate and successful placement within its first month of launch. We aim to recruit the remainder of our initial graduate cohort at the end of the 2018/19 academic year.
The Group involves employees through formal and informal systems of communication and consultation including suggestion schemes and works council forums. Each of our main operating sites have display boards which set out our continuous improvement strategy and include KPIs updated each month on areas relevant to the strategy such as health and safety performance, products and process improvement initiatives, and customer satisfaction performance.
While the Group does not have a specific human rights policy, it does have an Anti-Slavery policy and Modern Slavery Act Transparency statement available on the Company’s website, within which we state our zero-tolerance policy towards any modern slavery or human trafficking rights violations.
The Group gives every consideration to applicants for employment regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, religion, colour, race, nationality, marital status or disability having regard for their aptitude and ability to adequately perform the role while maintaining a safe working environment. Where employees become disabled, the Group makes appropriate and reasonable adjustments to their work environment and/or duties, endeavouring to maintain their employment provided there are duties they can perform.
The Group’s split between male and female employees at 31 December 2018 is shown below:
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While we are aware of the historical factors that have contributed to this gender split the Company continues to actively address this split. Our initiatives predominantly sit within our recruitment practices, learning and development opportunities and apprenticeship and graduate initiatives. Our belief is that a youngster’s future interests, both male and female, is partly driven by parental input, educational provisions and their first experiences of the world of work. We believe it is our corporate responsibility to address any unconscious gender bias, when promoting future job opportunities. We are actively working with both schools and parents to ensure Polypipe is seen as a potential employer of choice for both males and females alike.
The Group seeks to prohibit all forms of bribery and corruption within its businesses and complies with the requirements of all applicable anti-bribery and corruption laws.
The Group requires all relevant employees and agents to confirm each year that they remain in compliance with the Group’s Anti-Bribery policy.